Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wrapping up 2016 & Happy New Year!

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I didn't intend to stop blogging at the end of our Amazon stint and over the holidays, but it sure turned out that way. Let's catch up!

On Friday, December 2nd at the end of our 10-hour shift, we were gathering our things from our locker and noticed folks looking at their phones checking their Email and gathering to chat. Before we even got out the front door, we found out that HR had sent an Email to CamperForce folks asking if any of us would be interested in Early Release. Leaving early typically results in the loss of our bonus ($1 per hour worked) at the end of the season. But this time, HR was making it known that those who chose Early Release would receive the bonus. It seems they over-hired this year. It took us all of about a nano-second to say OH, HELL YES!

The final Fitbit stats totaling all our steps during our Amazon experience.

By 10:45 am on Sunday, we were done, along with about 70 others. While we were excited to get on the road, we had a couple of things pending (like packages we were expecting and a doctor's appointment for me) before we could leave. We also wanted to say a proper goodbye to the people we met and spent time with. On Wednesday, December 7th, we left Campbellsville and drove all the way to Tom Sawyer Campground in West Memphis, AR, on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

Scoopy at Tom Sawyer RV Park on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River.

We caught up with Jodee & Bill Gravel and while the boys headed into Memphis to catch a movie, Jodee and I went on the hunt for a 6" springform pan. We have both recently purchased an Instant Pot, and for Steven's upcoming birthday, we were going to make him a cheesecake. We also cooked a few other dishes, and had both pots cooking away. We named them Thelma and Louise. :) 

Jodee drinking Irish Whiskey and directing me in the making of the cheesecake.

Tipanic and Tessa get acquainted!

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Thelma and Louise looking spiffy along the banks of the Mississippi River.

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Delicious birthday cheesecake made with the incredible Instant Pot!

We had mostly gorgeous weather and it was a great place to relax and unwind from our long days at Amazon.

While Jodee and Bill (with Tessa & Louise) took off for New Orleans, Steven and I headed to Maumelle, just outside Little Rock. We spent another few days along the river, relaxing, before finally heading to Live Oak Ranch.

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Spectacular sunrise at Maumelle Park in Arkansas.

It was great to be back to the ranch with my family. Steven and I had managed to shop for and wrap the majority of our gifts before we got there, so we jumped right in and got the tree and decorations up in the great room in anticipation of Zac and Tara's arrival. Zoe, as always, was unable to join us as she works in retail and was unable to take time off.

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Lots of fun time with family at the Ranch in Texas!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner, but after that, things went downhill fast as nearly everyone got sick. And by sick, I mean really, really sick. On the afternoon of New Year's Eve, I took both of my parents to the Emergency Room, where my Dad was diagnosed with pneumonia and my Mom with bronchitis. Dad was hospitalized for two days before being send home to recuperate. I stayed in town to be with them, but also to recover myself, as Steven seemed to have escaped infection and he wanted to keep it that way.

Recovery is ongoing, but the bulk of it all took up the first two or three weeks of the New Year with doctor's appointments and lots of rest. Fortunately, we are all on the mend. Dad is regaining his energy and Mom and I are still getting rid of our annoying coughs.

Linda and her Mom in Abilene making a delicious halibut meal.

After a few days on antibiotics, Steven allowed me to return to Scoopy. We got busy and did the big purge that we do every year to get rid of things we don't need. This year, the Vita-Mix got put in storage, as did a few pots and dishes. Somehow, I keep buying these things and end up storing them.

In the middle of our yearly purge!

Now, Scoopy has been winterized, I think for the first time ever. The slides are in, her fridge is empty and all power has been turned off. For the next month, Steven and I will be traveling in Europe. As I type these words, I'm sitting in the Starbucks near Steven's childhood home outside of Dublin, soaking up the free Wifi in order to bring you this blog. It is my intention to keep up with posts and share our travels with you, so thanks for following along! 

We are in Dublin! This is the closest we’ve come to fish and chips (haven’t eaten them yet).

NEXT UP: Our adventures in the Emerald Isle.


  1. nice recap of the past the shot of the instapots! and the sunrise photo, as usual Steven's photos are never a disappointment!..enjoy your trip to the Emerald Isle!

  2. Great memories of fun times along the Mississippi! Love your family Christmas pics, even knowing you were all struck down with the yuks after that :-( So fun to get an international post, and I look forward to many more!!! Safe travels.

  3. Oh good, glad to know you survived Amazon. :-) Looks like you had a great time with friends and family, despite getting sick. How fun that you caught up with Bill and Jodee — that's an adorable photo of Tessa! Looking forward to your adventures in Ireland. (Haha, such a lovely glamour shot of Thelma and Louise.)

  4. We love that COE park in Maumelle. My insurance is in Arkansas and we stop there once a year for my appointment at UAMS in Little Rock. Enjoy your overseas trip.